A friend of mine from Georgia sent me this email and I'd like to share it with other artists. This was written in response to a question from a friend of his, "when will I be considered an artist and not a student?"
"When we stop being students, we will no longer be artists." Keep that fervor you have and combine it with the skills you are acquiring painting by painting, class by class... you will be an artist when you know that you know. (I think you are an artist now, but you are the one who determines when you have earned the title.)
I am reminded of Stuart Cink who won the British Open yesterday . He was a three time All-American golfer in college at Georgia Tech. While on the PGA tour, he trains with a strength coach, a psychological coach, a swing coach, a putting coach, and is buoyed by an understanding, supportive family . He is on top of his game, yet he takes lessons from someone practically every day . The people from whom he takes lessons will never win a golf tournament, yet Cink keeps on studying with them because they can minimize the mistakes and time it takes him to the achieve greatness to which he aspires. Yesterday, Cink was an artist at the top of his golf game yet he will be back on the practice tee tomorrow, taking lessons. There is another golf tournament somewhere again this week. Will Cink win it?
We will know Sunday afternoon. If he doesn't win, somebody else shot better scores. When you are at the top, there is only one direction to go.
The moral: never stop learning, never stop being a student of your craft or there are 100 people who will begin to take your place.
Thanks Gary for a great email!